Why and how to maintain eye contact on videoconferencing.

Which version of me is really talking with you?

Eye contact is tremendously important in everyday life (references). For the same reasons that apply when meeting in person, it is an advantage to look into your friend’s eyes while speaking and listening via a remote conference system.

This is difficult for two main reasons:
- the eyes of your friend (on the screen) are not at the same location as your camera lens (usually located above or below your screen) ;
- you are periodically distracted by your own image feedback, displayed in a corner of your own screen.

Common setup

Here is a simple trick for a one-to-one conversation on a computer : shrink your videochat window, move it near the camera lens.

Better setup

It works just fine! Now when you look at your friend’s face, it’s as if you were looking at the camera. Even if you check your own image, you’re still close enough to go unnoticed. It turns out a small picture area suffices to correctly interact with a human interlocutor.

Some gadgets (1, 2) have been manufactured to help you with eye contact, but you really don’t need to buy them.

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